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TitleJournalism: new media, new actors - new ethics?
Author(s)Fidalgo, Joaquim
Journalism ethics
New media
Public interest
Issue dateNov-2009
PublisherIAM Institute of Applied Media Studies
Abstract(s)The traditional field of journalism has been facing major challenges in recent years, either because new actors have entered that field (professional journalists actually lost the monopoly of searching, gathering, editing and diffusing news in the public sphere), or because the old actors are increasingly asked to play new roles. The social demand for more public participation in the process of handling news and information, added to the fabulous possibilities of communication brought by the digital techniques and by the Internet, gave birth to a big diversity of new media and of new forms of dealing with journalism and news. ‘Citizen journalism’, ‘participatory journalism’, ‘user-generated content’, ‘crowdsourcing’, ‘weblogs’, etc., are expressions rather common nowadays, all of them somehow calling the attention to the fact that journalism-as-a-professional-work seems to coexist more and more with various forms of journalism-as-a-civic-activity, performed by very different people, under very different conditions and with very different levels of involvement and expertise. As a consequence, questions are being raised about the ethical implications of this new scenario, both in what regards the activity of professional journalists in new (on-line) media and the active commitment of ‘laypersons’ in the process of handling and diffusing public information. In this paper we will try to analyze and to discuss these questions, with reference, among others, to Eliot Freidson and his proposed distinction between ‘practice ethics’ and ‘institutional ethics’. Furthermore, we’ll try to discuss what really makes (or should make) journalism distinctive from many other practices that nowadays coexist with it in the public sphere, strongly increasing the possibilities of communication between people but not necessarily following the purposes of public interest and of civic democratic participation. In this context, the bare concept of journalism seems to ask for a clearer definition, and so do the roles to be played by journalists in the more complex (but also more stimulating) media environment we are dealing with in contemporary societies.
TypeConference paper
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CECS - Comunicações / Communications

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